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Title: Nishikawa Sukenobu : the engagement of popular art in socio-political discourse
Author: Preston, Jennifer Louise
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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Nishikawa Sukenobu was a popular artist working in Kyoto in the first half of the eighteenth century. He was principally known as the author of popular 'ehon', or illustrated books. Between 1710 and 1722, he published some fifty erotic works, including a work detailing sexual mores at court which Baba Bunkô, amongst others, believed responsible for prompting the ban on erotica that came with the Kyôhô reform package of 1722. Thereafter, he produced works generally categorized as 'fûzoku ehon': versions of canonical texts, poems and riddles, executed in a contemporary idiom. This thesis focusses on the corpus of illustrated books from the early erotica of the 1710s to the posthumously published work of 1752. It contends that these works were political: that Sukenobu used first the medium of the erotic, then the image-text format of the children's book to articulate anti-bakufu and pro-imperialist sentiment. It explores allusions to the contemporary political landscape by reading the works against Edo and Kyoto 'machibure', contemporary diaries (such as 'Getsudô kenbunshû') and contemporary pamphlets ('rakusho'). It also places the ehon in the context of other contemporary literary production: for example the anti-Confucianist writings of the popular Shinto preacher Masuho Zankô and the 'ukiyozôshi' production of Ejima Kiseki (whose works were illustrated by Sukenobu). It corroborates these findings by citing evidence of the political sympathies of Sukenobu's collaborators: for example, the political writings of the Kyoto educationalist Nakamura Sankinshi; the works of the children's author and Confucian scholar Nakamura Rankin (aka Mizumoto Shinzô); and the fictional and 'kojitsu' writings of the Shinto scholar Tada Nanrei.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Erotic prints ; Japanese ; Japan